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Irish Insights


Te'o, Smith named Butkus Award semifinalists

Notre Dame could have one linebacker leave with a version of the Butkus Award and another linebacker coming in with another version of the honor that goes to the country's top linebacker.

Irish senior Manti Te'o was named one of 12 semifinalists for the college version Monday, and Bishop Luers senior Jaylon Smith, a Notre Dame recruit, was named one of 12 semifinalists for the high-school version.

Te'o, who won the award in high school, is one of two repeat semifinalists for the Butkus Award, along with Georgia's Jarvis Jones. Te'o, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound inside linebacker, has a team-high 69 tackles with 2 1/2 for loss, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries this season.

Smith, a 6-3, 217-pound outside linebacker, has 45 tackles with 11 1/2 for loss, two sacks and five pass breakups this season.

Finalists for the award will be announced Nov. 20, and the winner will be revealed Dec. 4.

Te'o also added a fourth independent defensive player of the week award on Sunday. The senior had 10 tackles and intercepted his fourth pass of the season in Saturday's 17-14 win over BYU.

Irish running back Theo Riddick was named the independent offensive player of the week for his career-best 143-yard rushing performance on 15 carries against BYU.